In 2011, DigitalFUTURES started out as an annual series of academic events, consisting of a conference, workshops and exhibition, hosted by the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University, Shanghai. It has since expanded to become a year round global platform. However, the original series of events in Shanghai remains central to its mission. The aim of DigitalFUTURES is to encourage international collaboration and interaction, and to promote theoretical and scientific research into computational design, robotic fabrication, and other areas of architectural intelligence.

     2021 Conference Theme: Material Intelligence.Why Material Intelligence? First of all, we must recognise that there is an increasing emphasis both on the intelligent use of materials and on the use of intelligent materials in contemporary architectural culture. One of the primary reasons for this has been the question of material performance. Concerns about structural and environmental performance, in particular, have become paramount. These concerns go beyond mere economic considerations, to become an ethical imperative in a world of diminishing resources and global warming. But, secondly, we must also recognise that we can now use intelligent computational techniques, such as artificial intelligence, to make our designs ever more materially intelligent. Thus, while intelligent computational techniques remain immaterial, they can be used to inform the intelligent design of a material building. Material intelligence, then, stands not only for the intelligent use of materials and the use of intelligent materials in the construction of a building, but also for the use of intelligent computational techniques to design the material form of that building.



Organization Committees
Prof. Dr. Philip F. Yuan, Tongji University, China

Prof. Dr. Neil Leach, Tongji University, China

Call for paper

Important date

Draft paper submission deadline
Draft paper acceptance notification

Submission Topics

The “2021 DigitalFUTURES—The 3rd International Conference on Computational Design and Robotic Fabrication (CDRF 2021)” provides an international platform for advanced researches addressing Material Intelligence in architecture. The focuses of the papers include, but not limited to, architecture theories, tools, methods and procedures in:


Computation and Formation

Rule-based morphology;

Performance-driven form-finding;

AI-augmented generative design;


Simulation and Optimization

Cross scale: urban and architecture;

Multiple objectives: environmental and structural;

Full life circle: design, fabrication and operation;



Data Acquisition and Prediction

Ubiquitous perception and multi-scale data ;

Three-dimensional spatial data and smart cities;

Internet of Things, Blockchain and Information Modeling;

Complex network and multi-agent system;

Human-factors data collection and evaluation;



Perception and Interaction

Digital twin;

Immersive Technology / VR / AR;

Responsive materials and dynamic structure;

Machine communication and interaction;



Materialization and Construction

New materiality;

Performative tectonics;

Robotic fabrication;

Automated assembly;

Human-machine collaboration;


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Important Date
  • Conference Date

    Jul 03



    Jul 04


  • Mar 15 2021

    Draft paper submission deadline

  • May 15 2021

    Draft Paper Acceptance Notification

Sponsored By
Tongji University
Supported By
College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University
Shanghai Digital Fabrication Engineering Technology Center
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